Andy Pettitte made his triumphant return this afternoon and it couldn’t have gone much better as the Yankees beat the Blue Jays 4-2 to put themselves back into sole possession of first place in the AL East.
Pettitte’s command could have been a little bit sharper, but he appeared to get better as the game went on and managed to pitch his way out of any jams he got himself into. Considering he hasn’t pitched in two months that’s about as good as anybody could have hoped for. He only threw five innings because he was limited to 75 pitches.
The Yankees got practically all of their offense in the first inning thanks to hits by Ichiro Suzuki, Nick Swisher, and Robinson Cano and productive at bats from Alex Rodriguez and Curtis Granderson. But Henderson Alvarez shut them down after that and looked like a totally different pitcher. Luckily Darren Oliver came in for the eighth and gave up an insurance run that gave them some breathing room.
The most troubling aspect of this game was definitely David Robertson. Since the beginning of August he just hasn’t been himself and we saw it today as he didn’t bust out his curveball in situations he typically uses to put batters away. He didn’t even get out of the eighth inning and Rafael Soriano finally had to come in to get a four-out save. If he struggles in the playoffs though the Yankees could be in big trouble.
The Yankees are now a half game up on the Orioles for first place in the East. The O’s, who played an 18 inning game last night, play the Mariners again later tonight and take on Felix Hernandez. The Yankees also play tonight and are sending David Phelps to the hill to take on the struggling Ricky Romero. It’ll be interesting to see how Joe Girardi manages the bullpen after he used all of his important relievers in the afternoon game.